Many parents don’t realize their kids hurt. Children don’t know tummies are not supposed to hurt. They may think it’s normal.
I did not know my gut was not supposed to hurt when growing up. As an adult I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease but decades of malabsorption took their toll on my bones and growth.
I always ask kids and teens in Consults if anything hurts. The question can surprise them, especially if they’re seeing me for “allergies”.
Explaining that pain (or constipation, gas, diarrhea) is not right and we want to fix it helps them understand WHY we’ll be changing their diet.
For other kids, stomach aches become a negotiating factor when they want out of doing something. It can be a problem figuring out real tummy aches from imaginary ones.
Either way, it’s important to address. Here’s why.
5 Reasons to Fix Your Child’s Stomach Aches
- Finding food allergies and intolerances can save a lifetime of health issues. Gut inflammation can cause malabsorption of critical growth nutrients and impair hormone production. Certain foods, such as dairy, tend to cause ear and sinus infections and lead to unwanted antibiotics. Gluten and grains (wheat, corn, oats, rice) intolerance is extremely common as is true Celiac Disease (autoimmune Gluten intolerance).
- If kids feel better off sodas, bread and milk but still get gas, bloating or pain, could there be infection? Candida is common in children who’ve had multiple antibiotics or were born by Cesarean. Or those eating lots of sweets, sodas and juice. Giardia picked up from daycare or dirty hands can be an issue, usually causing loose stool and cramping pain.
- Ask your child to point where it hurts. Make them be specific. They might point to the bladder, appendix (lower right side), throat or anywhere! I’ve had more than one child point to the urinary tract and genitals and found a bladder infection, vaginitis or painful rash.
- Helping a child make the connection between what they eat and how they feel is a powerful thing. I’ve had 6 year-olds run in my office, hug me, and happily explain they don’t hurt anymore since they stopped eating pizza or milk! Explain how stress causes stomach aches too. That’s a revelation for most people.
- No matter the cause – food intolerance, infection, or stress causing irritable bowel, it’s never too early to prevent (or heal) Leaky Gut. Young kids are sicker these days and in my experience, when we’re chronically unwell, we have Leaky Gut. Read and listen to learn more about that here and here.
Foods and Supplements for the Gut
Once you’re sure it’s gut pain, start looking for patterns based on what they ate.
Here’s one page of the 7 Day Food Diary new Clients fill out. You’ll learn a lot from this if you really detail it. Notice where it asks “How did you feel today? Why?” Make notes what the day was like. Stressful? School trip? Burgers and Milk Shake w. upset tummy 1 hour later? Headaches, body odors, nightmares? All these can point to a food intolerance. Or even Celiac…
Here’s my article on foods for Irritable Bowel. It’s my own version of low-FODMAPS, GAPS, Specific Carbohydrate Diet and Paleo rolled into one. It’s how I manage my own unhappy gut, even after grain-free, dairy-free and mostly starch-free.
There are specific probiotics for different age groups children. Udo’s Choice Flora for Children is a good one. I personally find Pre-Biotics a problem for those with Irritable Bowel or FODMAPS issues. I stay away from them…. My Premier Research Probiotics is good for adults as well as children. This is a highly unique, dairy-free product made from fermented fruits and vegetables. (In a small capsule).
Here’s a previous article on helping your child’s tummy ache that explains more about an elimination diet. I ask the whole family, or at least the Mom, to do food eliminations at the same time. Make it an experiment, not a punishment! Once a child discovers the link between a food and a stomach ache, they can be pretty dedicated to having parents help them avoid that ingredient.
To learn more about what I consider the best diet for all of us, purchase my DVD “The Diet For Human Beings.” Humans are not herbivores and ALL GRAINS are difficult for us to digest and process. Most Dairy also.
Take a look at supplements in my online store for digestion, infection and probiotics for the whole family.